10/30/2007 11:00PM

Mid-Atlantic tracks discuss teamwork

EmailRacing officials from major tracks in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey met on Wednesday at Aqueduct in New York to discuss how to coordinate their stakes schedules in the future and the possible creation of a multi-state bet, the officials said.

The officials included representatives from the New York Racing Association, which runs Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga; the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands; Philadelphia Park in Pennsylvania; and Delaware Park. Those tracks frequently draw on the same horse populations for their races.

According to NYRA's chief executive, Charles Hayward - who organized the meeting at the suggestion of NYRA's chief operating officer, Hal Handel - a main topic of discussion was better communication between the tracks' racing departments so that stakes races with similar conditions are not held on the same dates. The racing secretaries from each track are scheduled to meet again sometime later in November as a follow-up to the discussion, Hayward said, before the tracks devise their stakes schedules.

In addition, the tracks discussed creating a wager that would link races between the tracks during the spring and summer, when Belmont, Delaware, Monmouth, and Philadelphia all run live race meets. The multi-leg bet would be modeled along the lines of the Magna Pick 5, which gives bettors the opportunity to wager in five races in one hour held at tracks owned by Magna Entertainment Corp.

On the marketing side, the tracks discussed holding handicapping tournaments between teams of players based at each track, along with the creation of a racing day that would pit statebred horses from each state against each other, Hayward said.

The racing officials plan to meet in December to discuss the ideas further, Hayward said.

"People in the racing industry don't root for each other, and we don't talk enough," Hayward said. "If we can get two or three good ideas out of these meetings, it will be worth it."